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Christopher Tolkien speaks out after 40 years...

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  • PilnkplonkPilnkplonk zagrebPosts: 1,532Member
    Originally posted by ShakyMo
    I disagree several movies are better than the books

    Godfather trilogy
    Starship troopers -horrible fascist book, great satirical film
    Original star wars trilogy
    Blade runner (although I really like Dick as an author)
    Shawshank redemption
    Misery
    The davinci code (even though the film is shite, its less shite than the book)

    And controversial - lotr movies

    Someone once said (and I really can't bother finding the source) that it is much easier to make a good movie out of a mediocre book than out of a really good one. It's like remakes of classics.. How can one "improve" on perfection? Gus van Sant did the right thing when given to direct a remake of  "Psycho"... He meticulously copied Hitchcock's original shot by shot, almost frame by frame.

    Additionally not all novels are fit to be made into movies; if nothing else, they wouldn't fit into the feature film time format. Only recently, with advent of mini-series and re-invention of theatrical serial we can see literary epics properly brought to screen. "The Game of Thrones" (which is a decent port to screen, at least until S2) wouldn't have been possible just 10 or 15 years ago because the format wasn't there. And LoTR's was made possible by the success (financial, at least) of the SW prequel trilogy which finally proved what Spielberg and Lucas were trying to say since the 80's - that theatrical serials can and do make financial sense.

    However, The Hobbit is taking things too far... Just like many movie adaptations failed because they were screaming for a serial format but hollywood wouldn't listen, now when serials are all the rage they're trying to stretch everything into this new hot format, whether it fits or not. Sadly, I can see the otherwise quite valid and finally rediscovered form of theatrical serials vanish back into the black hole once a big production one flops because it was forced onto unsuitable original material. And The Hobbit "trillogy" might just turn out to be it. :(

  • FrodoFraginsFrodoFragins Manchester, NHPosts: 2,926Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Flaming_MMO

    His opinion is meaningless to me.  Did he ever even write a book?  Did any of the Tolkien kids/grandkids take up J.R.R.'s legacy and start writing more books in the Lord Of the Rings universe? 

    I would take his opinion seriously if he was like Brian Herbert (Frank Herberts son) who actually continued writing more Dune books (and still writes them) after Frank Herbert died.

    I don't like Christopher Tolkien but you completely lost me here.  Tolkien took his fathers writings and fleshed them out into a readable format.  Herbert's son cashed in on his dads work by writing fan fiction in his fathers universe.  I'll take Chris Tolkien over Herbert's kid any day.

  • FrodoFraginsFrodoFragins Manchester, NHPosts: 2,926Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by ShakyMo
    I disagree several movies are better than the books

    Original star wars trilogy

     

    LOL.  You think Star Wars was first a series of books?

  • ShakyMoShakyMo BradfordPosts: 7,207Member
    Yes see up this thread, didn't think so myself either.
  • skeaserskeaser Wichita Falls, TXPosts: 3,847Member Uncommon
    I'm with a lot of the other posters in here. Were the LOTR movies missing things? Yes. We're they "action-ized"? No. It's not like Michael Bay got ahold of them. Jackson, I think, was very respectful to the theme and feel of the books and didn't stray far from the story.
  • ericbelserericbelser buffalo, NYPosts: 783Member

    To me it has nothing to do with the books; the LoTR series was at best 'okay' as movies...the Hobbit isn't even that. It is a badly done laughably frantic over-actioned monstrosity. It makes the Avengers look slow and deliberate.

    As for the Tolkien family 'legacy' and the assorted legal BS, while they are not blameless, they have been rather badly handled over the years and it is all a convoluted mess...much more complicated than is worth rehashing here.

     

  • rochristrochrist Harvard, MAPosts: 106Member Common
    Originally posted by ShakyMo
    I disagree several movies are better than the books

    Godfather trilogy
    Starship troopers -horrible fascist book, great satirical film
    Original star wars trilogy
    Blade runner (although I really like Dick as an author)
    Shawshank redemption
    Misery
    The davinci code (even though the film is shite, its less shite than the book)

    And controversial - lotr movies

    Jesus wept. THis is just .....sad.

  • FrodoFraginsFrodoFragins Manchester, NHPosts: 2,926Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by ShakyMo
    Yes see up this thread, didn't think so myself either.

    The Star Wars books are adaptations of the movies.  They weren't books first ...

  • 3-4thElf3-4thElf Elftown, MEPosts: 489Member
    Originally posted by rochrist
    Originally posted by ShakyMo
    I disagree several movies are better than the books

    Godfather trilogy
    Starship troopers -horrible fascist book, great satirical film
    Original star wars trilogy
    Blade runner (although I really like Dick as an author)
    Shawshank redemption
    Misery
    The davinci code (even though the film is shite, its less shite than the book)

    And controversial - lotr movies

    Jesus wept. THis is just .....sad.

    I doubt he's read even one of those books honestly.

    a yo ho ho

  • ShakyMoShakyMo BradfordPosts: 7,207Member
    No I've read all the above, bar 3rd godfather and the star wars.
  • KaeriganKaerigan None Of Your BusinessPosts: 689Member
    Originally posted by FrodoFragins
    Originally posted by ShakyMo
    Yes see up this thread, didn't think so myself either.

    The Star Wars books are adaptations of the movies.  They weren't books first ...

    I can see why people would be confused. I just looked it up and it seems like the first Star Wars book was released before the first Star Wars movie was available in cinemas (the book came out 1976, the movie 1977, according to Wikipedia), but the book is based on the script that Lucas wrote for the movie. So it's a novelization of a movie that was released before the movie. Not confusing at all.

    <childish, provocative and highly speculative banner about your favorite game goes here>

  • ET3DET3D Posts: 227Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by rochrist
    Originally posted by ET3D

    To me the tl;dr version of the article is:

    Tolkien wanted to create a book that few people would read. The publisher made him write a book that would appeal to readers. Jackson made a movie of it to appeal to moviegoers. This goes against what Tolkien wanted in the first place, but is a perfect fit for what he eventually wrote.

    Boy. This is full of fail. Could you provide a citation showing how 'the publisher made him write a book that would appeal to readers'?

    For that matter, could you provide a citation demonstrating that Tolkien wanted to 'create a book that few people would read'?

    No? What a surprise.

    Pity you didn't read the article. To quote the relevant paragraph: "In 1937, as soon as it was published, The Hobbit immediately became a critical and popular success, to the point where its then publisher, Allen and Unwin, demanded a sequel urgently. Tolkien, though, did not wish to continue in the same vein. He had instead almost finished a narrative of the most ancient times of his universe, which he called The Silmarillion. Too difficult, decreed the publisher, who continued to harass him. The writer, a bit half-heartedly, accepted the project of writing a new story. In fact, he was about to set in place the first stone of what would become The Lord of the Rings."

    Now, not reading the article is forgivable, but stop being a jerk.

    And I'm sorry if I phrased things badly. Tolkien almost finished a book that few people would want to read, and wanted to publish that. That's what I meant.

  • tom_goretom_gore TamperePosts: 1,796Member Uncommon

    Isn't Christopher Tolkien the guy who wrote/finished The Silmarillion from his father's notes?

    Yeah... I wouldn't put that book into a resume.

    Personally, I think he's just bitter because he never could take up his father's mantle, because he just sucks at writing.

     

  • GishgeronGishgeron Princeton, KYPosts: 1,287Member
    Originally posted by Hluill

    Wow, some of you posters make me feel like a geriatric stick!

    "There are better writers today?"  Have you actually read these books?  I mean, read them?  The wordcraft is exquisite.  Writers today, myself included, can't even edit properly, much less understand grammar and vocabulary.  I've spent hours marveling at  sentences in those books...

    Sure, some think plastic is better than glass.  Some would rather get McD's than fresh cut.  Some would rather have a five-minute quickie than a life-long friendship.

    Peter Jackson has great vision, but his movies contain too many: "Oh that's just silly!" scenes for me.  I almost had to walk out of "Two Towers" (Horses galloping down that pitch, into a pike formation?  Really?).  "Return of the King" was even worse.  Now "Hobbit" was too long and then had twenty minutes of epic sillyness.  The last third of the movie could've been cut to three scenes and been the better for it.

    Yeah, I understand Christopher Tolkien's grief.  We live in a world that is all flash and no substance.  Professor Tolkien lived in time before American pragmatism ruled the world.  He tried to write about it.

     

       I realize that this post is very late to the game, but I feel it had to be made.  If you cannot find authors today that match up with whatever magically enchanced vision you have of Tolkien then the fault lies with you.  Martin is great at writing large and sweeping stories that encapture massive casts and varied landscapes.  Sanderson has creative and interesting worlds with characters that are easy to get into and enjoy.  But all of them, Tolkien included, pale compared to Patrick Rothfuss.  He, and his Kingkiller Chronicle series, is the first author to really grab me in a deep way.  I actually have "marveled at his wordcraft", as you put it.  I have read each of his books in that series 5 times each, and will very likely re-read them again while waiting for the third installment.  Absolutely no other book as been good enough for me to read 5 times. 

      For the record, anyone who hasn't already picked up on Rothfuss already should.  The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man's Fear cannot come any more recommended.  Both are must reads. 

    image

  • strangiato2112strangiato2112 Richmond, VAPosts: 1,538Member Common

    1.  These movies cost a shit ton of money to make.  And visually Jackson has done an astounding job with Middle Earth.  In order for the movies to be financially successful, some hollywood touches need to be made.

    2.  As for the action movie claims, The Hobbit is a pretty fast moving story and in particular the goblin > wargs/trees sequence is non stop action in the books as well as the movie.  The goblin escape was handled quite poorly in the movie though, no reason at all for that huge fall then the goblin lands on top of them.

    3.  The good Jackson brings to the table FAR out weighs the bad.  Again, his use of NZ as Middle Earth is stunning.  And lets not forget Gollum, no one else would have done half as well as Jackson with Gollum.  And the heart is still there.  Jackson obviously loves the source material and it shows.  I have no doubts that his adaptations are as good as we wer elikely to get, far better really.

    4. Christopher is an ungrateful brat.  Jackson has brought mllions to Middle Earth that have gone on to read and appreciate his fathers writings.

  • Saur0nSaur0n Denver, COPosts: 113Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by strangiato2112

    1.  These movies cost a shit ton of money to make.  And visually Jackson has done an astounding job with Middle Earth.  In order for the movies to be financially successful, some hollywood touches need to be made.

    2.  As for the action movie claims, The Hobbit is a pretty fast moving story and in particular the goblin > wargs/trees sequence is non stop action in the books as well as the movie.  The goblin escape was handled quite poorly in the movie though, no reason at all for that huge fall then the goblin lands on top of them.

    3.  The good Jackson brings to the table FAR out weighs the bad.  Again, his use of NZ as Middle Earth is stunning.  And lets not forget Gollum, no one else would have done half as well as Jackson with Gollum.  And the heart is still there.  Jackson obviously loves the source material and it shows.  I have no doubts that his adaptations are as good as we wer elikely to get, far better really.

    4. Christopher is an ungrateful brat.  Jackson has brought mllions to Middle Earth that have gone on to read and appreciate his fathers writings.

    Agreed.  Before the movies, Tolkien had an underground cult following.  Now everyone and their grandma is a Tolkien fan.  Don't get me wrong,  I looooved those days when not many people knew anything about LOTR but finding anything related to LOTR and the Hobbit back then was tough.  After the movies came out millions of people went and bought the books which in turn made them in to life long fans and the book money still goes to the Tolkien estate so Chri$topher Tolkien can suck it.  When I was 12 and first read the hobbit and lotr all we had were the books, 3 cartoons, and 2 DOS Interplay games.  I'd have killed to have what we have now.

  • DoogiehowserDoogiehowser ParisPosts: 1,873Member

    Like everythign else in life this is going to be subjective and will avry from person to person but on subject of movies betetr than books, my list is..

    Clockwork Orange

    Jaws

    Blade Runner

    God Father

    There will be blood

    Apocalypse now

    Rquiem For a Dream

    Shawshank Redemption

    And my personal favorite..... Fight Club.

     

    "The problem is that the hardcore folks always want the same thing: 'We want exactly what you gave us before, but it has to be completely different.'
    -Jesse Schell

    "Online gamers are the most ludicrously entitled beings since Caligula made his horse a senator, and at least the horse never said anything stupid."
    -Luke McKinney

    image

  • ObiClownobiObiClownobi CoruscantPosts: 186Member
    Originally posted by Saur0n
    Originally posted by strangiato2112

    1.  These movies cost a shit ton of money to make.  And visually Jackson has done an astounding job with Middle Earth.  In order for the movies to be financially successful, some hollywood touches need to be made.

    2.  As for the action movie claims, The Hobbit is a pretty fast moving story and in particular the goblin > wargs/trees sequence is non stop action in the books as well as the movie.  The goblin escape was handled quite poorly in the movie though, no reason at all for that huge fall then the goblin lands on top of them.

    3.  The good Jackson brings to the table FAR out weighs the bad.  Again, his use of NZ as Middle Earth is stunning.  And lets not forget Gollum, no one else would have done half as well as Jackson with Gollum.  And the heart is still there.  Jackson obviously loves the source material and it shows.  I have no doubts that his adaptations are as good as we wer elikely to get, far better really.

    4. Christopher is an ungrateful brat.  Jackson has brought mllions to Middle Earth that have gone on to read and appreciate his fathers writings.

    Agreed.  Before the movies, Tolkien had an underground cult following.  Now everyone and their grandma is a Tolkien fan.  Don't get me wrong,  I looooved those days when not many people knew anything about LOTR but finding anything related to LOTR and the Hobbit back then was tough.  After the movies came out millions of people went and bought the books which in turn made them in to life long fans and the book money still goes to the Tolkien estate so Chri$topher Tolkien can suck it.  When I was 12 and first read the hobbit and lotr all we had were the books, 3 cartoons, and 2 DOS Interplay games.  I'd have killed to have what we have now.

    Underground cult following? Get real. LOTR is one of the top selling books of all time, far more people have read the books than have ever seen the film.

    image
    "It's a sandbox, if you are not willing to create a castle then all you have is sand" - jtcgs

  • JoeyMMOJoeyMMO SomewherePosts: 1,326Member
    Originally posted by Banquetto

    Well J.R.R. Tolkien's great-grandson Royd Tolkien loved the movies.

    "I was beyond excited just to go on set and see behind the scenes. To watch how such a colossal film is so intricately crafted and pieced together was inspirational and planted a seed in me that has since grown into a love of film production and a desire to reach the heights scaled by Peter Jackson. It was one of the best experiences I've ever had."

    http://www.smh.com.au/travel/why-i-love-new-zealand-tolkiens-great-grandson-20121217-2bisg.html

    Is his opinion less valid than Christopher Tolkien's?

    Is this great grandson a professor of Old English who was one of, if not the first, to hear all the stories the books are based on from his own father, JRR Tolkien himself? If Christopher Tolkien says the films have gutted the original books and turned them into an action movie, then who in his right mind can say otherwise? If Christopher Tolkien doesn't know Middle Earth, then who does? It should be clear that things were changed from the original books to "fit" into the type of movie Jackson wanted to make.

    I really doubt there is anybody out there with any credibility in literature who will try to claim that the movies are a perfect "translation" of the books. It's a series of movies, the first probably being the best, Gandalf facing off against the Balrog was probably better in the movie than in the book. But a movie is only a movie, even if it does manage to capture the essence of the books.

    imageimage
  • BartDaCatBartDaCat Renton, WAPosts: 819Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Gishgeron
    Originally posted by Hluill

    Wow, some of you posters make me feel like a geriatric stick!

    "There are better writers today?"  Have you actually read these books?  I mean, read them?  The wordcraft is exquisite.  Writers today, myself included, can't even edit properly, much less understand grammar and vocabulary.  I've spent hours marveling at  sentences in those books...

    Sure, some think plastic is better than glass.  Some would rather get McD's than fresh cut.  Some would rather have a five-minute quickie than a life-long friendship.

    Peter Jackson has great vision, but his movies contain too many: "Oh that's just silly!" scenes for me.  I almost had to walk out of "Two Towers" (Horses galloping down that pitch, into a pike formation?  Really?).  "Return of the King" was even worse.  Now "Hobbit" was too long and then had twenty minutes of epic sillyness.  The last third of the movie could've been cut to three scenes and been the better for it.

    Yeah, I understand Christopher Tolkien's grief.  We live in a world that is all flash and no substance.  Professor Tolkien lived in time before American pragmatism ruled the world.  He tried to write about it.

     

       I realize that this post is very late to the game, but I feel it had to be made.  If you cannot find authors today that match up with whatever magically enchanced vision you have of Tolkien then the fault lies with you.  Martin is great at writing large and sweeping stories that encapture massive casts and varied landscapes.  Sanderson has creative and interesting worlds with characters that are easy to get into and enjoy.  But all of them, Tolkien included, pale compared to Patrick Rothfuss.  He, and his Kingkiller Chronicle series, is the first author to really grab me in a deep way.  I actually have "marveled at his wordcraft", as you put it.  I have read each of his books in that series 5 times each, and will very likely re-read them again while waiting for the third installment.  Absolutely no other book as been good enough for me to read 5 times. 

      For the record, anyone who hasn't already picked up on Rothfuss already should.  The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man's Fear cannot come any more recommended.  Both are must reads. 

    Well, if nothing else, at least I came away from this forum thread with some new reading recommendations.  Sweet!  Thanks!

  • YamotaYamota LondonPosts: 6,620Member
    That is the reason I have not watched Bilbo and nor will I. It is the movie equivalent of a dumbed down ThemePark.
  • ShakyMoShakyMo BradfordPosts: 7,207Member
    Doggie
    Got to disagree on clockwork Orange, especially the British version with the different ending.
  • skeaserskeaser Wichita Falls, TXPosts: 3,847Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Yamota
    That is the reason I have not watched Bilbo and nor will I. It is the movie equivalent of a dumbed down ThemePark.

    How do you know this without watching it? This is like saying you've never tried a food because it tastes bad.

  • strangiato2112strangiato2112 Richmond, VAPosts: 1,538Member Common
    Originally posted by JoeyMMO

    Is this great grandson a professor of Old English who was one of, if not the first, to hear all the stories the books are based on from his own father, JRR Tolkien himself? If Christopher Tolkien says the films have gutted the original books and turned them into an action movie, then who in his right mind can say otherwise? If Christopher Tolkien doesn't know Middle Earth, then who does? It should be clear that things were changed from the original books to "fit" into the type of movie Jackson wanted to make.

    I really doubt there is anybody out there with any credibility in literature who will try to claim that the movies are a perfect "translation" of the books. It's a series of movies, the first probably being the best, Gandalf facing off against the Balrog was probably better in the movie than in the book. But a movie is only a movie, even if it does manage to capture the essence of the books.

    Christopher should focus less on what was "gutted" and more of what was left.  Instead of focusing on Helms Deep, focus on how well the Frodo/Sam/Gollum half of the story turned out.

    The movies were nowhere near perfect.  But I can forgive an hour of crap like Legolas sliding down an Oliphants trunk to get the 9-10 hours or so that were great.

  • Po_ggPo_gg Twigwarren, WestfarthingPosts: 2,714Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by strangiato2112
    Originally posted by JoeyMMO

    Is this great grandson a professor of Old English who was one of, if not the first, to hear all the stories the books are based on from his own father, JRR Tolkien himself? If Christopher Tolkien says the films have gutted the original books and turned them into an action movie, then who in his right mind can say otherwise? If Christopher Tolkien doesn't know Middle Earth, then who does? It should be clear that things were changed from the original books to "fit" into the type of movie Jackson wanted to make.

    I really doubt there is anybody out there with any credibility in literature who will try to claim that the movies are a perfect "translation" of the books. It's a series of movies, the first probably being the best, Gandalf facing off against the Balrog was probably better in the movie than in the book. But a movie is only a movie, even if it does manage to capture the essence of the books.

    Christopher should focus less on what was "gutted" and more of what was left.  Instead of focusing on Helms Deep, focus on how well the Frodo/Sam/Gollum half of the story turned out.

    The movies were nowhere near perfect.  But I can forgive an hour of crap like Legolas sliding down an Oliphants trunk to get the 9-10 hours or so that were great.

    Honestly, why should he? I mean, even we can see the "gutted out" parts, and we're "just regular" fans, without any real attachment beside our love to the lore. He basically lived his whole life in it, he was there at the creation of it, he did a lot of editorial and other work with it as well, as JoeyMMO wrote since J.R.R. is gone C.T. is the one with the most knowledge (and attachment) to Tolkien's writings. I think he has every right to notice things which are devaluating his father's work.

    Actually I don't understand the hostility in this thread... He didn't bashed GW2, nor praised Pirate101 for Eru's sake :) he just stated his sadness that Jackson and New Line Cinema are on a wrong path with the Hobbit, the slot machines, etc. Strange that this makes him "pompous brat" and "crybaby" at some poster...

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